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Moore Back for More as Cleveland Catching Depth

Moore Back for More as Cleveland Catching Depth

| On 16, Feb 2016

For Cleveland Indians catcher Adam Moore, this spring represents a chance to hang around in the game of baseball with the hopes that he can get another opportunity to get back to the Major League level. With the Indians hosting a large number of pitchers in camp soon, Moore should have plenty of time to audition for a role of some sort with the organization in 2016.

Moore, 31, is entering his eleventh season of professional ball this year and has seven seasons of MLB experience under his belt, yet the bulk of those trips to an MLB dugout have been for a quick cup of coffee.

After his selection by Seattle in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, he progressed quickly through the Mariners farm system with his strong power numbers. In 115 games at High-A in 2007, he hit .307 with 22 homers and 102 RBI. The next season at Double-A, he hit .319 with 14 homers and 71 RBI over 119 games. He reached the Majors in 2009 for six games and appeared at three different levels for the club that season.

He got his longest taste of the big leagues in 2010, when he worked as the Mariners backup backstop in 60 games, hitting just .195 with four homers and 15 RBI while splitting time at Triple-A Tacoma. Set to be the club’s backup catcher the following season, a knee injury cost him all but two games of 2011 and, in 2012, he was selected by the Kansas City Royals off of waivers. He appeared in four games for the club, hitting .182.

He played in five games for the Royals in 2013, spending most of the season at Triple-A Omaha and prior to the 2014 season, he was purchased by the San Diego Padres. A new location did not yield better results, as he hit well at the Triple-A level (.298 average, 12 homers, 34 RBI) but had just a quick glimpse of the National League in nine games for the team and became a free agent following the season.

He spent the 2015 season in the Indians organization, logging 92 games of work in Triple-A Columbus, where he hit .282 with six homers and 44 RBI. He started the season as the number two catcher, but strong offensive numbers and the early season promotion of Brett Hayes to replace the injured Yan Gomes gave him more time in the lineup. He was brought up to Cleveland after the Clippers season ended and appeared in just one game for the Indians, getting a single and a run batted in with two strikeouts in his return to the AL Central.

He became a free agent following the season and re-signed with the club less than two weeks later.

Hayes has performed well over the course of his minor league career, even with the sharp decline in his power numbers as he has aged and battled through injury. He owns a lifetime .291 average across all minor league levels, including a .280 average in parts of six different seasons at Triple-A. In his 87 MLB games, he has hit just .201.

Moore is a depth option for the Indians, who may likely look to use him as an insurance policy down Interstate 71 in the same manner that they did last season. Catching depth at the higher levels of the Indians farm system is thin, with Alex Lavisky splitting time between Akron and Columbus last year and Hayes now in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system. Tony Wolters, who was designated for assignment off of the 40-man roster on Friday, will likely be back in Akron, but has struggled mightily with his health and his bat since transitioning back to catcher from his former middle infield prospect status for the club.

In the best case scenario for the Indians, catchers Gomes and Roberto Perez stay both healthy and in the lineup and the Indians do not need to go to other options in camp or during the season, including Moore, Anthony Recker, and/or Guillermo Quiroz, who will all represent the club in Goodyear as non-roster invitees on minor league contracts. But with the grind of the catching position and the injury risk it presents, it does not hurt to have a player or two around with some big league experience just a phone call away.

Photo: Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch